Saturday, 25 August 2012

Man Utd's Dilemma Or Collateral Damage ?

Manchester United may go out and vanquish Fulham without  mercy in their next game, but it won't change my stance. Robin Van Persie may hit a hat trick in the game, and it won't sway my argument. Alex Ferguson has been erratic about Wayne Rooney's strike partner in the last two seasons, with Berbatov, Hernandez, and Welbeck being interchanged. It's somewhat odd a preferred combination and partnership has never been formed. Danny Welbeck's sudden elevation to England International status obviously forced the issue to a degree last season. He got 30 league games.  Wayne Rooney's 27 goals in 34 league games last season went unnoticed as his best ever tally in the league. When you throw in his multi-dimensional forward play over the  years, non in the current bunch of United strikers can surpass the synergy of link-play, creativity, and goals he offers. Tactically, an amazing player to have in your team, and affirmatively Man United's first choice striker.

MARQUE SIGNING: The addition of Robin Van Persie to Man United's attacking force is a tale of mutual grand illusion. Nobody foresaw Van Persie's ascendency into goal scoring orbit, neither is there any antecedents to it. Having watched him for over eight years, he has grown to become  a unique and individualistic sort of striker, with match winning, spontaneous brilliance. I am assured of  those empirical factors, injuries or not. I believe the flourish of goals in the last 18 months have enormously flattered him.  However it came at the right time of his contract and career at Arsenal. In my opinion, Man United went out to sign Van Pesie more as a gesture than of tactical consideration. The player used two remarkable goal scoring seasons as leverage to a massive pay hike, and an exalted status, which is not a reflection of his true potential. There is only one Christiano Ronaldo, and only one Lionel Messi. Man United and Robin Van Persie have tapped into the energy created by the goal scoring exploits of those two, to build  delusions of grandeur. Robin Van Persie made his debut a few days ago against Everton, and his cameo display reminded me of the early days in his Arsenal career - frantic and impulsive. I am not judging his Man United career on that performance, i hasten to add.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE : When Alex Ferguson alludes to the attacking strength he has in the cocktail of strikers he has assembled, and it's reminiscence of the era of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham, and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, his sentiments seemed universally contagious by it's resonance. With all the typical fawning around Alex Ferguson and his words by sports writers, they failed to put into context, or analyse the facts surrounding the 1999 quartet of strikers. Obviously, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were the main pair, Teddy Sheringham was in the twilight of his career at 33 years old, and Ole Gunnar  Solksjaer was a rarity in football. Not often do you see a player accept his fate as an auxiliary one in the manager's thinking. It's hard to conjure a similar state of affairs this  time around with the version 2012 quartet. The game has evolved, and that nostalgia would remain just that. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez would not share that disposition, and there is a clear divergence in professional conduct with contemporary players. Do not expect anyone of them to hang around for crumbs. There is consideration for injuries in the calculus, and perversely that helps justify any exclusion in the future, as it will be said X and Y are fitter than you are, but do not expect an extended acquiescence once the player starts to lose form.  If all four are fit and available to be selected, the situation potentially gets volatile with asymmetrical playing time allocated amongst four of them leading to a sub-plot of winners and losers, and consequently departures. Alex Ferguson for all his towering experience would require a touch of sorcery to keep four international strikers happy. This concoct is going to be distinctly unappealing.

DILEMMA : Four strikers of varying capacities, but just as talented. We usually work on the hypothesis of a coalescence, but the Earth is round not square. The manager might have to alter his tactics to make partnerships work. What about the budding tandem of Rooney and Welbeck for Club and Country ? and, can Javier Hernandez play with Van Persie ? Arsene Wenger slanted Arsenal's attacking play to maximize the Van Persie dimension. He had the penalty box to himself, always the target for a pass. At Man United, it won't function on that script ; there will be a few more players attacking the final pass.... would he drift out in search of the ball to make things happen for himself like he used to when he played alongside Thierry Henry and Emmanuel Adebayor? For a player who has only been a prolific goal scorer for just two seasons, it's vital an attempt is made to replicate the elements under which he thrived. We shall observe how Alex Ferguson handles the new reality he has bought into. Too many variables, when convergence is what is required. The luxury of choices, or the problems it  conversely creates ?  Lightning hardly strikes twice, and sequels never live up to the billing.  I prophesy disaffection, defections, and possibly an implosion in Alex Ferguson's all-star-cast strike force.

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